According to the National Association of Retired and Veteran Railroad Employees (NARVRE), draft legislation to reform Railroad Retirement by increasing benefits and reducing carrier contributions has hit a stumbling block, which has delayed introduction of a bill.

In an Internet Special Notice distributed on May 13th, NARVRE reported that House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Archer (R-TX) and Social Security Subcommittee Chairman E. Clay Shaw, Jr. (R-FL) have "several criticisms" of and "several objections" to the proposal.

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BLE reaches 137th anniversary this month
Founded on May 8, 1863, the BLE is North America's oldest labor union, representing more than 59,000 professional locomotive engineers throughout the United States and Canada.

BLE on a three-year growth streak
The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers is in the midst of a three-year growth streak, gaining more members than it has lost each month in 37 of the past 39 months.

The most impressive period of the growth streak has come in the past nine months. The BLE has initiated more than 2,600 new members, an average of 293 per month, since August of 1999.

BLE position on use of locomotive horns
The Federal Railroad Administration is currently seeking input regarding proposed rulemaking legislation for the use of locomotive horns. The rule was proposed in January by the FRA in response to a law enacted by Congress in 1994 requiring locomotive horns to be sounded when a train approaches and enters a public highway-rail grade crossing. The following is a copy of the BLE's official submission to the FRA on the use of locomotive horns:

How do Social Security changes impact you?
Amendments to the Social Security Act ease the earnings restrictions affecting social security beneficiaries working after retirement. These amendments also apply to annuitants covered by the Railroad Retirement Act. The following questions and answers provide information about this change in the law.

Railroad Retirement Board picks new Medicare Part B provider
The Railroad Retirement Board announced its selection of Palmetto Government Benefits Administrators LLC, a subsidiary of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Carolina, to process the Medicare Part B medical insurance claims for physicians' services. The selection followed a competitive Federal procurement process.

Bartholow, Sadler appointed to new positions at Retirement Board
The Railroad Retirement Board has named Thomas W. Sadler as its Director of Hearings and Appeals. Sadler succeeds Dale G. Zimmerman, who has retired. The Board also named its General Counsel, Steven A. Bartholow, to the newly-established position of Senior Executive Officer (SEO). He will continue to serve as the RRB's General Counsel.


Wisconsin two-person crew bill vetoed
An 11th hour lobbying effort by the commuter railroad METRA has derailed efforts to establish an improved two-person crew bill in the state of Wisconsin.

Quarterly earnings up for UP, KCS, BNSF, CP and CN; Down for NS, CSX
First quarter earnings for the major railroad companies were again mixed. While CSX and Norfolk Southern are still recovering from their Conrail integration woes, Kansas City Southern reported record results for the first quarter.

BMWE strikes Norfolk Southern
The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes set up picket lines on the former Norfolk & Western portion of the Norfolk Southern Railroad at 6 a.m. on May 4.

Teamster strike enters sixth month
The national unfair labor practice strike at Overnite Transportation Company, the trucking subsidiary of Union Pacific Corporation, hit the six month mark, making it the longest national freight strike in history.

BLE Job Bank -- Wisconsin Central
Wisconsin Central Ltd., a progressive growth oriented regional railroad, is seeking certified locomotive engineers to work at various terminals in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

AFL-CIO National Boycotts
Don't buy products from the following manufacturers because of disputes with AFL-CIO affiliated unions:

AFL-CIO Do Buy List
Keep the following list of union-made, U.S.-made cars, vans, and pickups in mind if you plan to purchase a new vehicle anything soon.

Mourn for the dead, fight for the living
AFL-CIO, BLE remember fallen members on Workers' Memorial Day.

Workers' Memorial Day statement by BLE President Ed Dubroski
Last year, the BLE lost six more of our Brothers in accidents. These Brothers should not have been sacrificed on the altar of profitability. Today, we honor the memory of our six fallen Brothers, whose lives were needlessly cut short in the past 12 months:

Industry News Briefs
CSX gives managers bonuses despite 61% decline in profits; Monument dedicated to Irish railroad workers; Amtrak boasts key performance improvements; BNSF, NS announce joint coast-to-coast intermodal service

BLE member wins top environmental honor
Brother Mike Bethge of BLE Division 421 (Buffalo, N.Y.) has won the Association of American Railroads' North American Environmental Excellence Award, the railroad industry's top environmental award, for his work involving the safe transportation of hazardous materials by rail.

Locomotive Engineer Rates of Pay
Table I (The rates of pay effective July 1, 2000, reflect a cost-of-living-adjustment under Article II, Part C of the 1996 National Agreement of 15 cents per hour or $1.20 per basic day and $0.12 cents per overmile.)


Volume 14 - Number 5
May 2000

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